I’ve gotta admit; fruit snacks are something that I’d kind of forgotten about as an adult. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been aware that they exist, but they’re not something I’ve put much thought into after I stopped brown-bagging my lunch.
I’m always on the lookout for unusual flavor combinations, though, so coming across fruit snacks that promised to be both sweet AND spicy gave me more than enough reason to pick up boxes of Sweet & Fiery Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers.
The Fruit by the Foot version features two flavors of tropically-themed fruit tape infused with a little tastebud-tingling heat: Spicy Watermelon and Fiery Peach. Like all varieties of Fruit by the Foot, each roll comes individually packaged, and General Mills was even kind enough to print the flavor on the wrapper so you can pick one out without having to open all of them up.
Flavor-wise, I have to say I was surprised at how much heat these had! Considering that Fruit by the Foot is a snack targeted towards kids, I had been expecting the inherent sweetness in these to overpower any sort of spicy element, but that was far from the case. Both started on the sugary side, but the heat built up while I chomped my way through each roll. By the time I got to the end, the spice and heat were the star attractions of both, and the featured fruits were just chilling in the background.
In contrast to how each of the two Fruit by the Foot flavors were packaged separately, Sweet & Fiery Fruit Gushers instead mixed all three flavors into individual pouches.
By the way, yes, I said all THREE flavors. The Gushers added Hot Mango to the party.
And, man, they sure mixed a lot of the Hot Mango pieces in! I’ve eaten several pouches, and most of the ones I’ve opened have been at least 50 percent Hot Mango. For some odd reason, General Mills decided to color this Gusher-exclusive flavor bright green, which is just about the last color that I associate with mangoes. Maybe they wanted it to stand out more from the Spicy Watermelon and Fiery Peach pieces, but I kept expecting to taste hot lime whenever I popped one into my mouth.
Even though the Sweet & Fiery Gushers were tasty, I don’t think they were able to balance the combo of sweet and spicy as well as Fruit by the Foot was. Since the Gushers are small and easy to eat in one or two handfuls, the spice level of these didn’t have enough time to build up, and I usually only started tasting it when I was finishing up my pouch. On the bright side, though, the box does have 12 pouches in it, so you can eat a couple of them in one sitting without having to worry about running out.
While I enjoyed the Sweet & Fiery variations of Fruit Gushers and Fruit by the Foot, neither snack is something I can imagine most kids would care for. Instead, these are best suited for those with, dare I say, more complex palates. People like their parents, or 20-something college students who have self-confessed Chipotle addictions.
Anyway, kudos to General Mills for making fruit snacks relevant again for everyone over the age of 12!
(Nutrition Facts – Fruit by the Foot – 1 roll – 80 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugars, 0 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein. Fruit Gushers – 1 pouch – 90 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugars, 0 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $3.29 each
Size: 9 oz. box (12 rolls) (Fruit by the Foot)
Size: 10.8 oz. box (12 pouches) (Fruit Gushers)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Fruit by the Foot)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Fruit Gushers)
Pros: Fruit snacks that appeal to adults! Spice tames and complements the sweetness nicely. Both boxes generously sized.
Cons: Neither snack would probably appeal much to kids. Hot Mango is only found in the Gushers. Spice doesn’t have a chance to truly come into play with the Gushers.